A friend of mine has an investment property in a northern
The property, a condo in a four-plex development is just steps away from the one of the chairlifts that services the mountain. Advertised on several rent-by-owner web sites, his condo is frequently rented throughout the ski season at rates that seem rather advantageous to my friend’s pocket.
It seems like the perfect investment opportunity, but there are some down sides too. Summer months bring little or no additional rentals to help carry the mortgage. Further, since he handles all the rental inquiries that come from the web, he is essentially managing the property on his own as well. So any complaint from a tenant or a condo system that suddenly ceases to operate during a guests stay, and he is the one that receives the call…sometimes late at night, as was the case just last month when his furnace pilot light went out rendering the unit’s heating system useless.
A management company seems like a good idea, but there too were problems with that decision as well. As with most management companies in the area, the standard commission rate is 25 percent. Also, the management company books several months in advance, so the ability to use the condo on a moments notice to take the kid’s skiing is simply not part of the plan. Oh, and if you do happen to get up to the slopes on an open weekend, the management companies look to the owners to pick up the tab for cleaning…which is usually about $100 per stay.
Now, with a full time job and a full time family, my friend continues his ‘other’ job of maintaining his slope-side investment property. Unfortunately, with the downturn in the economy, many of the renters these days are pickier about the vacation homes they decide to rent. To combat any possible future problems, my friend has found a great cleaning company that can be booked to clean the unit within a 1-day notice of the next guest showing up…which takes care of any last minute rentals which he seems to get on a fairly regular basis. Additionally, he has picked up a good maintenance person that is on call 24-hours every day, so the pesky furnace can be taken care of quickly.
Sure, there are still some problems from time to time. I called him the other day to see if there was a weekend in February that I could use the condo, but unfortunately, the condo is booked solid for the month. No problem for him…big bummer for me. Oh, and they desperately need some snow too. My friend says he receives more complaints when the ski conditions are poor, than when there seems to be endless powder.
If only I could make it snow!